ACE Academy combines global perspectives with proven educational strategies that challenge and support gifted learners. Hands-on learning and guided inquiry allow students to explore areas of interest in depth and satisfy their need for discovery and mastery. Working in multiage classrooms, students acquire a strong foundation in core academics while building corollary skills in information gathering, critical thinking, research and independent study, teamwork, communication, and presentation.
ACE follows several guidelines for its curriculum offerings. Based on current research and a survey of best practices, each Department at ACE has chosen a set of nationally normed subject standards to make sure our teachers cover all of the “basics.” Using those standards as a baseline, we then enlarge the scope of our offerings according to the interests and abilities of our students. Creativity and the flexibility of being an independent school allow us to be open to new content and approaches. As a private school, ACE is not required to administer state achievement tests. We do, however, offer a nationally-normed achievement test annually to students age 8 and above to measure each student’s progress and to assess the effectiveness of the learning environment.
What makes ACE special? Flexibility and sensitivity to student passions mark the great teacher and the great classroom. Our inquiry-based approach begins with students’ questions about what they want to know. Flexible teachers guide those inquiries but also allow for meaningful deviations. For example, in our first few weeks as a school, tremendous student response to a particular novel led to an 11-book exploration of the author and his works. The reading detour was unexpected but highly productive. Students researched the author’s life, compared themes and characters among novels, and wrote critical comparisons of a body of work: not the usual work of an elementary class.
Class offerings at ACE Academy comprise a mix of core academics, fine arts, social awareness, and creative problem solving. Students attend subject-based classes; however, each class integrates other disciplines to be sure to provide the “big picture.” The extent to which various disciplines come together within an ACE classroom frequently surprises visiting students.
Reading, reading comprehension; writing, editing, grammar, spelling, analogies, Latin roots; research skills, note taking; critical and creative thinking development; academic writing
Problem-solving, number sense & numeration, computation, communication, reasoning, connections, estimations, geometry, measurement, Algebra I and II, Calculus AB/BC, Linear Algebra, discrete math
Exploration and discovery, hands-on experiments, lab techniques; life science, earth science, physical science, technology, chemistry, physics, research methods
Geography, map skills, cultural studies; world history; economics, inventions
Spanish, French, German, Latin, Ancient Greek; cultural explorations of customs, foods, traditions
Color, light, media, methods; artists, art history, styles, self-expression in many media
Composers, music history, music theory, music as a language, instruments; choral music; band
Creative expression, costumes, scenery, staging, film, presentation
Physical Education and Health
Body awareness, fitness, nutrition, organized games, and individual goals; fencing; yoga
Learning styles, organization, time management, connections between school knowledge and the outside world, developing a lifelong love of learning
Strategic thinking, history of chess, controlled competition, and serious fun
Web development, data structures, algorithm; various programming languages
Computer animation, basic physics, strategic thinking, and more serious fun
Self-awareness and self-control, ethics, interpersonal skills, body language, understanding intensity and optimizing gifted characteristics
ACE uses several methods to ensure that students learn at a comfortable pace and in an environment that maximizes their potential.
Early entrance allows a student to begin study in a given area when he or she is ready, not because of a particular age or grade level. Birthdays are for celebrating, not for qualifying!
Multiage classes and ability grouping encourage this same concept: a 7-year-old and a 10-year-old may share the same passion for a topic, and they have the chance to explore it together. Ability grouping, particularly in math, allows each student to move ahead at the necessary pace.
Compacting curriculum means shortening the time spent on a subject and/or intensifying its study to allow a student to complete a course and move ahead, regardless of the calendar.
Choice of Expression – Instruction in a group setting often leads to individual projects. Students often choose a topic to pursue and how they want to express their discoveries. Each child’s project is planned and implemented individually to maximize that student’s abilities and interests. Many class reports become multi-media presentations that allow each student to showcase a particular talent while sharing information with fellow students. There are no dull reports in this environment!